Defra’s review of the pork supply chain ignores the key role played by retailers and therefore could stop adequate changes taking place in the industry, says a report from the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).
With the launch of Defra’s Pork Market Consultation, intended to build a better understanding of how the pork supply chain works and what changes may be needed, the BMPA has said that Defra’s focus is only on the interactions between producers and processors and, as a consequence, fails to consider ‘the bigger picture’.
The BMPA’s report notes that, while the interaction with processors ‘has the most direct impact on farmers’, the complex interactions further along the chain ‘have an equal or greater indirect impact’; because pork producers sell to UK retailers, meat product producers, large food service markets, and to overseas markets. Plus, the UK imports 60% of pork consumed here, which, altogether, creates a tangled and hard to trace system.
‘Our concern is that this consultation will leave Defra with insufficient information on which to base future decisions,’ the BMPA report said.
‘Without the full picture they will have no way of modelling the downstream implications of making a change to contractual arrangements. And there’s a danger that a well-intentioned change to the system could backfire and result in a worse situation for farmers’.
Therefore, the BMPA is asking Defra to ‘consult with [them] separately and in more detail’, to help build a more complete picture of the entire pork supply chain and allow for the best of changes to be made.